You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse, but now Democrats appear to have developed a case of Bernie remorse. After rushing to out-socialist Bernie Sanders by unquestioningly embracing Medicare for All, the Washington Post reports that presidential candidates have begun singing a different tune. Kamala Harris might be carrying the melody, but she’s getting a lot of harmony from the rest of the choir:
The Democratic senator from California is hardly alone. The idea of Medicare-for-all — a unified government health program that would take over the basic function of private insurance — became a liberal litmus test at the outset of the presidential campaign, distinguishing Democratic contenders who cast themselves as bold visionaries from more moderate pragmatists.
But in recent months, amid polling that shows concern among voters about ending private insurance, several of the Democratic hopefuls have shifted their positions or their tone, moderating full-throated endorsement of Medicare-for-all and adopting ideas for allowing private insurance in some form. …
This unmistakable, if sometimes subtle, shift in tone stems in part from Democrats’ fear of giving away a newfound advantage over Republicans on health care.
After the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, Republicans scored major political victories by vowing to repeal the initially unpopular law. But when the GOP seized control of Washington under President Trump and tried to follow through on those promises, they faced a powerful backlash from voters who’d come to rely on the ACA.
Now some Democrats warn of the perils for their party in taking a position that, to important groups of voters, could seem just as disruptive as the GOP’s push to kill the ACA.
That one is going to be more difficult to walk back.